joining us on this edition of nhk "news line "oif. i'm raja pradhan in tokyo. chinese president xi jinping is now visiting south korea. he met with president park geun-hye. the two leaders confirmed their countries will work closely together on north korea's nuclear issue. the trip marks the first time a chinese supreme leader has gone to south korea before visiting the north, china's longtime ally. nhk world's kunihiro yamamoto reports. >> reporter: xi began his two-day visit to south korea on
thursday. after attending a welcome ceremony, he held talks with park. >> translator: if south korea and china join hands to create a new northeast asia, the dream of the two nations will spread across the region. >> translator: i want to hold in-depth talks on a broad range of international and regional issues of concern to china and south korea. >> reporter: after the meeting, the two presidents said they agree to strengthen bilateral ties in a wide spectrum of fields. they said the two nations will work hard to conclude a free trade accord by the end of the year. the leaders also expressed strong concerns over north korea's nuclear program. >> translator: we have agreed to work for the denuclearization of
north korea and strongly protest its nuclear testing. >> translator: we will support efforts to make concrete progress on denuclearizing the korean peninsula through negotiations in such frameworks as the six-party talks. >> reporter: xi and park are trying to rein in north korea's nuclear ambitions and stance by jointly delivering a tough message to pyongyang. kunihiro yamamoto, nhk world. meanwhile, leaders from japan and north korea are taking steps to move the abduction issue forward. officials in tokyo confirmed that north korea's special committee will have full access while probing the fate of japanese people abducted by the north. and officials will also lift some sanctions against pyongyang once the investigation starts. japanese chief cabinet secretary yoshihide suga announced when the sanctions will be eased.
>> translator: officials in pyongyang are scheduled to set up a special investigative committee and start a comprehensive and thorough probe into all japanese remaining in the country on friday. at that time, we will lift some of the sanctions against north korea. >> suga said the officials from the two countries have agreed to aim for north korea's first report on the probe by late summer or early autumn. he also said the north has agreed to expedite the process. they're aiming to complete the investigation in one year. suga says they've evaluated the north's panel, and he called the group adequate. >> translator: the special investigative committee has been given a special authority by the highest organ of the state, the national defense commission, to investigate all relevant organizations. >> suga says having members from
the defense ministry and the secret police enhances the committee's powers. experts say top officials of the secret police are very close to leader kim jong-un. suga said the special committee will have several subcommittees. they'll be responsible for looking into matters such as japanese nationals who are missing and japanese remains in north korea. he also said that sending delegations to the north to cooperate with the country's investigators is an option, but he denied that prime minister shinzo abe will make a visit. the japanese government will lift three sanctions on pyongyang. they cover restrictions on travel, port calls by ships, and money transfers. but government officials remain concerned about the north's nuclear and missile development programs. they'll keep an asset freeze in place. it's based upon a u.n. security council resolution. suga emphasized that the sanctions they're about to lift were based on their own policy. and that won't affect their stance of solving the north's nuclear or missile programs
through cooperation with the u.s. and south korea. now, north korea's envoy for normalizing relations with japan says his country is ready to begin its full-fledged probe. song il ho told reporters that delegates had a fruitful discussion in beijing on tuesday. he said he explained how the north will proceed with a fresh investigation into abductees and missing japanese nationals. >> translator: japanese chief cabinet secretary suga said he wants the investigation to be finished within a year. we will remember this timeframe. we will immediately start our probe and report the results. >> south korean and chinese officials have reacted favorably to the talks and their outcome. south korea's foreign ministry said in a statement that the abductions are a humanitarian issue and the country looks forward to an early settlement. the ministry added that transparency is needed for the talks and the lifting of some sanctions. the statement said japan's
measures should not undermine the coordination among south korea, the u.s., and japan on the north's nuclear and missile programs. chinese foreign ministry spokesperson hong lei was also positive. he said china hopes japan and north korea will improve their relations through the talks and build regional peace and stability. now, the father of one of the abductees sounded an optimistic note on abe's announcement. shigeru yokota said a fresh outcome to the issue is possible because the new investigation committee has the backing of the north's high-profile government bodies. north korea says yokota's daughter megumi is dead. >> translator: north korea surely has all the data on the eight abductees it says are dead. so i think it can verify what is true and what is not if they have the will to do so.
>> yokota said he wants to continue to try to bring the abductees back home, as he believes his daughter is still alive. iraqi government forces are stepping up their air strikes on sunnis across the country. militants are keeping up their resistance and reportedly concealing themselves among civilians. a military spokesperson said troops had carried out 121 air raids across the country during the past 24 hours. the official reported their targets had included insurgents holding the northern city of tikrit and said the government forces had gained the upper hand. security authorities say sunni insurgents have used anti-aircraft guns to shoot down government helicopters. and they say militants are hiding among civilians to avoid being targeted. they say the insurgents are getting help from sunni tribes who oppose the mainly shia government.
supporters of an anti-government shia cleric fought with forces in karbala where at least 45 people were killed. that incident shows that shias are not only fighting against sunnis, but also with each other. palestinian protesters continue to clash with israeli police following the suspected revenge killing of a palestinian teenager. hundreds of palestinians took to the streets of east jerusalem and hurled fire bombs and stones at israeli police. many people were injured in the clashes. a palestinian boy was abducted in the israel controlled area of jerusalem on wednesday and later found dead. his body reportedly had wound marks, raising widespread suspicion that somebody had killed him in retaliation for the death of three israeli teenagers. the jewish teens were abducted last month, and their bodies were found earlier this week. israeli leaders blamed members
of the palestinian organization hamas for the killings. some israelis posted messages on the internet calling for retaliation. the funeral for the palestinian boy is planned for thursday. fear is mounting that it could spark yet another major protest by palestinians and trigger wider unrest. a security official in myanmar says two people were killed earlier this week in a sectarian riot in mandalay, the country's second largest city. the announcement was made on thursday. dhra dhirakaosal in bangkok has the details. a series of violent clashes has erupted in myanmar between majority buddhists and minority muslims since 2012. more than 240 people have been killed. the latest riot broke out in central mandalay on tuesday night and raged on until early wednesday. several hundred people turned up
armed with clubs and knives. police used rubber bullets to disperse them. reuters quotes an army colonel as saying two people were killed and 14 injured. news reports say the ride was triggered by internet rumors that a muslim tea shop owner had raped a buddhist woman. conflicts between the two communities have intensified in the last two years. tens of thousands of people have lost their homes and are living as evacuees. myanmar is emerging from half a century of military rule and is reforming under president thein sein who took office in 2011. but raging sectarian violence could undermine this infant democracy. in india, a new high speed train broke the country's speed record when it ran on thursday between the capital new delhi, and agra, home to the taj mahal.
dubbed the semi-bullet, the train hit 160 kilometers per hour. the ten-car train broke the old speed record by 10 kilometers per hour. the taj mahal, a world heritage site, is a major tourist attraction. >> translator: this will make people very happy because time will be saved. we will reach our destinations quickly. there are nice facilities, too, and it's air-conditioned. >> translator: i am hopeful that with commencement of this train, tourism, particularly foreign tourism, will get a boost. >> india boasts an extensive railway network since the time of british rule, but it is plagued by accidents. the government has been working hard to upgrade the aging system. once commercialized, the semi bullet will shorten travel from new delhi to agra by 30
minutes. the journey currently takes two hours. the authorities are aiming to launch the service by november. indonesians are weighing a choice between the old and new guard as they prepare to vote in a presidential election next wednesday. the old in this tight race is 62-year-old prabowo subianto. he's a former military general with ties to the late president. the new is 53-year-old joko widodo. he's the governor of jakarta, a former city mayor, and a businessman. joko wasn't a national figure until recently. he's pushing to change indonesian politics. nhk borld's jun yotsumoto looks at wheo he is and where he came from. >> reporter: hands-on, scandal-free poverty fighter.
that's how joko widodo's supporters describe him. >> translator: we hope in this campaign that all people will feel happy because the democracy we're going to put into practice is democracy for the welfare of the people. >> reporter: joko has been governor of jakarta since 2012. more than 9 million people live in the indonesian capital. one of the challenges widodo has tackled is this reservoir. it used to cause severe floods every year and people living in surrounding areas suffered. 7,000 families used to live around the water. joko's administration relocated them to public housing. and it turned the area into a park. people who moved to apartments say they are happy with what the government did.
>> translator: this is the first time the government has given attention to small people like us. before joko, there was nothing like this. >> reporter: we travelled to his hometown of surakarta in central java. joko grew up in the flood-prone riverside area. he lived in this modest house with his parents and siblings for 16 years. a stark contrast to other indonesian leaders. his mother sujiatmi told me that as a boy joko collected and cut logs for his father, a wood seller. >> translator: my son was always hanging without his peers since he was young, not with rich kids. >> reporter: joko studied hard and went to university, then set
up his own furniture manufacturing operation. his uncle miyono says joko was gifted in helping local craftsmen get international exposure. >> translator: joko had the quality of empowering small businessmen with no experience of exporting. he opened the export market for them. he was the one selling their products. >> reporter: joko became mayor of surakarta in 2005. he built new traditional markets and rebranded the old city as a center of japanese culture. current mayor hadi rudyatmo was joko's deputy. he says, if elected, joko would bring a new era of politics,
free of preferential treatment. >> translator: there's no nepotism. joko is a lesson for indonesia. in the future, it will not have to be party leaders who become president. >> joko's main rival prabowo subianto has a bigger national profile. he has a long military background and carries himself like a political heavyweight. his family is a part of the elite. and he was married to a daughter of the late president who ruled the country for 31 years. political analyst paul rowland says many indonesians have yet to decide which candidate to vote for. >> there is a very different choice between a more managerial approach to government looking
at problems and trying to solve them and a more sort of leadership focused approach, which is more trust me and i will lead indonesia into a better place. >> reporter: indonesians have enjoyed economic growth and relative stability during the decade of rule under the president. in many ways, they know what to expect from prabowo. voting for joko would be more of a risk. we'll see next week if it's one they are willing to take. jun yotsumoto, nhk world, jakarta. and that wraps up our bulletin. i'm dhra dhirakaosal in bangkok. americans are seeing a boost in job opportunities these days. employers in the nonfarm sector added more than 200,000 new
positions for a fifth straight month, and the jobless rate also improved. officials at the u.s. labor department say employees in the nonfarm sector added 288,000 jobs in june. the figure was much better than a marketing consensuses of about 210,000. employment increased in the health care, food, retail, and auto industries. and the officials are revised the figure for jobs added in april from 282,000 to 304,000. the unemployment rate for june stood at 6.1%, 0.2 percentage points lower than the previous month and the lowest level since september 2008. the upbeat data lifted investor sentiment on wall street. the dow jones hit a new record high of 17,000 in early trading on thursday. japan's nissan motor has built a second plant in thailand. that's despite slowing demand amid political turmoil in the country.
the opening ceremony for the factory outside bangkok was held on thursday. nissan plans to produce up to 150,000 units of new model pickup trucks annually at the plant. these will be for the markets in thailand and other southeast asian countries. nissan's move is bucking other japanese automakers in the country who are now trying to slow production. the end of a government subsidy program for buying new cars added to the political turmoil and dampened consumer sentiment. but nissan executives believe the thai market has a high potential over the long-term. japan's finance ministry is finding some relief. officials in charge of the state coffers managed to reduce the issuance of japanese government bonds in fiscal 2013. that's $20 billion lower than the original estimate. improved profits at companies helped to increase tax revenue. the ministry released the figures for settlement of state finances in the fiscal year that
ended in march. tax revenues totalled $460 billion. this is about $16 billion more than the earlier estimate. a weaker yen helped to boost corporate earnings. and as for national spending, lower than estimated interest rates reduced interest payments on government bonds. that helped aleve $16 billion in the state coffers. though the country's finances are still heavily dependent on government bonds, their issuance in fiscal 2013 amounted to $426 billion. millions of tourists flock to japan to wander through kyoto, look at the cher ary blossoms and stare at mt. fuji. there are new ways to welcome guests. >> reporter: the shrine is located about 160 kilometers north of tokyo. it's registered as a world
heritage site and is visited by 220,000 foreigners every year. in april, the shrine introduced a new guide service for foreign tourists. simply touch the pamphlet with a special pen and you can hear the names and explanations of structures inside the shrine precincts. this pen and pamphlet rental service costs about $5. there are translations for english, chinese and other foreign languages can be added. >> you learn a lot more at the site than you would otherwise, and it makes it a lot more relevant for us as tourists. i would have to say it's fantastic, really, really good. >> reporter: the system was developed by a pen manufacturer in tokyo. the company has been manufacturing fountain pens for more than 100 years.
so far, it's signed agreements for its foreign language travel guide system with seven popular tourist spots. the company intends to expand by providing the service to as many as 200 sight seeing spots in two years. >> translator: in the future, we think providing such service will be very important. we're shifting from being just a pen manufacturer to a pen manufacturer offering tourism services as well. >> reporter: last year, the number of foreign visitors to japan exceeded 10 million for the first time ever. the government wants to raise that number to 20 million. more companies are starting to see tourism as an attractive industry with growth potential. this major leasing agent also sees the rising number of foreign visitors as a perfect business opportunity. the agent is talking with
landlords and property owners about renting vacant apartments in tokyo to foreign visitors. this year the government designated special zones for drastic trade deregulation. the government will allow vacant private homes and apartments in these zones to be leased to foreign tourists. the leasing agent is planning to attract foreign visitors by leasing residences that are less expensive than other accommodations. >> translator: i hope foreigners who come to the country will appreciate the japanese way of living. >> translator: owners will benefit by filling their vacant residences. we can make the most of these special zones by providing the service to our customers. >> reporter: the leasing agent has signed a tie-up agreement with a travel agency. a web site is being designed to advertise inexpensive rooms to foreign tourists.
issues that need to be addressed include the safety of the tourists and handling any problems with neighbors. the travel agency is planning to set up a call center to help foreign tourists. the leasing plans to begin to accept foreigners visiting japan from september. its goal is securing 3,000 apartments in tokyo. with more foreign tourists coming to japan, companies anticipate p a profitable future in the tourism industry. and next let's take a brief look at the market figures.
a japanese politician under fire for dubious spending is being spotlighted in domestic and international media for sobbing and sleek shrieking during a news conference. during the news conference held on tuesday, the assemblyman ryutaro nonomura claimed that his expenses were for research. then he suddenly burst into tears. nonomura is accused of misappropriating about $30,000 of public funds. he allegedly spent the cash on 195 trips over the past year alone, including many to a famous hot spring resort. he failed to submit the receipts required for such travel. as of wednesday evening, the government office and assembly secretariat had received more than 700 complaints from the public across the country. many of them are calling for
nonomura's resignation and a swift inquiry into his activities. and international media have also picked up the story. the associated press news agency reported that nonomura's outbursts are considered unsightly in conservative japan, which favors a quiet, reserved style. the online version of american cbs news quoted japanese social media. one comment said nonomura seems to think that if he cries people will let him off the hook. cbs news concluded its story by saying that nonomura will be required to pay back every yen he spent improperly, and that could be the cause of his tears. and now here is the three-day outlook on the world's weather.